Charles Lamb Poems

Poems » charles lamb

Charles Lamb
Charles Lamb (London, 10 February 1775 Edmonton, 27 December 1834) was an English essayist with Welsh heritage, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children's book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced along with his sister, Mary Lamb (17641847). Lamb was the youngest child of John Lamb, a lawyer's clerk. He was born in Crown Office Row, Inner Temple, London, and spent his youth there, later going away to school at Christ's Hospital. There he formed a close friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge which would last for many years. After leaving school in 1789 at age 14, "an inconquerable impediment" in his speech disqualified him for a clerical career. For a short time he worked in the office of Joseph Paice, a London merchant, and then for twenty-three weeks, until 8 February 1792, he held a small post in the Examiner's Office of the South Sea House. Its subsequent downfall in a pyramid scheme after Lamb left would be contrasted to the company's prosperity in the first Elia essay. On April 5, 1792 he went to work in the Accountant's Office for British East India Company, the death of his father's employer having ruined the family's fortunes. Charles and his sister Mary both suffered periods of mental illness, and Charles spent six weeks in a psychiatric hospital during 1795. He was, however, already making his name as a poet. On September 22, 1796, a terrible event occurred: Mary, "worn down to a state of extreme nervous misery by attention to needlework by day and to her mother at night," was seized with acute mania and stabbed her mother to the heart with a table knife. With the help of friends Lamb succeeded in obtaining his sister's release from what would otherwise have been lifelong imprisonment, on the condition that he take personal responsibility for her safekeeping. In 1799, John Lamb died, leaving Charles, aged 24, to carry on as best he could. Mary came to live again with him in Pentonville, and in 1800 they set up a shared home at Mitre Court Buildings in the Temple, where they lived until 1809.

a thunderstorm
 
 
A moment the wild swallows like a flight
Of withered gust-caught leaves, serenely high,
To... [read poem]
evening
 
 
From upland slopes I see the cows file by,
Lowing, great-chested, down the homeward trail,... [read poem]
winter uplands
 
 
The frost that stings like fire upon my cheek,
The loneliness of this forsaken ground,
The... [read poem]
cleanliness
 
 
COME, my little Robert, near -- ,
Fie! what filthy hands are here!
Who that e'er could und... [read poem]
the city at the end of things
 
 
Beside the pounding cataracts
Of midnight streams unknown to us
'Tis builded in the leafle... [read poem]
the working party
 
 
Three hours ago he blundered up the trench,
Sliding and poising, groping with his boots;
S... [read poem]
on the companionship with nature
 
 
Let us be much with Nature; not as they
That labour without seeing, that employ
Her unlove... [read poem]
the frogs
 
 
Breathers of wisdom won without a quest,
Quaint uncouth dreamers, voices high and strange;... [read poem]
heat
 
 
From plains that reel to southward, dim,
The road runs by me white and bare;
Up the ... [read poem]
the railway station
 
 
The darkness brings no quiet here, the light
No waking: ever on my blinded brain
T... [read poem]
to a millionaire
 
 
The world in gloom and splendour passes by,
And thou in the midst of it with brows that gleam,... [read poem]
we too shall sleep
 
 
Not, not for thee,
Belovèd child, the burning grasp of life
Shall bruise the tender... [read poem]
winter evening
 
 
To-night the very horses springing by
Toss gold from whitened nostrils. In a dream
The str... [read poem]
a sunset at les eboulements
 
 
Broad shadows fall. On all the mountain side
The scythe-swept fields are silent. Slowly home... [read poem]
the general
 
 
"Good-morning, good-morning!" the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line... [read poem]
voices of earth
 
 
We have not heard the music of the spheres,
The song of star to star, but there are sounds... [read poem]
winter-solitude
 
 
I saw the city's towers on a luminous pale-gray sky;
Beyond them a hill of the softest mistiest... [read poem]
midnight
 
 
From where I sit, I see the stars,
And down the chilly floor
The moon between the froz... [read poem]
comfort of the fields
 
 
What would'st thou have for easement after grief,
When the rude world hath used thee with d... [read poem]
in november (1)
 
 
The leafless forests slowly yield
To the thick-driving snow. A little while
And ni... [read poem]
in november (2)
 
 
With loitering step and quiet eye,
Beneath the low November sky,
I wandered in the woods, ... [read poem]
storm
 
 
Out of the gray northwest, where many a day gone by
Ye tugged and howled in your tempestuou... [read poem]
outlook
 
 
Not to be conquered by these headlong days,
But to stand free: to keep the mind at brood... [read poem]
temagami
 
 
Far in the grim Northwest beyond the lines
That turn the rivers eastward to the sea,
Set w... [read poem]
in beechwood cemetery
 
 
Here the dead sleep--the quiet dead. No sound
Disturbs them ever, and no storm dismays.
Wi... [read poem]
a january morning
 
 
The glittering roofs are still with frost; each worn
Black chimney builds into the quiet sky... [read poem]
on lake temiscamingue
 
 
A single dreary elm, that stands between
The sombre forest and the wan-lit lake,
Halve... [read poem]
reality
 
 
I stand at noon upon the heated flags
At the bleached crossing of two streets, and dream
W... [read poem]
survivors
 
 
No doubt they'll soon get well; the shock and strain
Have caused their stammering, disconnected... [read poem]
the growth of love xi
 
 
Belovèd, those who moan of love's brief day
Shall find but little grace with me, I guess... [read poem]

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